Comal County reports 220th coronavirus-related death as local hospitalizations remain high

Here are the coronavirus updates you need to know in New Braunfels. (Community Impact staff)
Here are the coronavirus updates you need to know in New Braunfels. (Community Impact staff)

Here are the coronavirus updates you need to know in New Braunfels. (Community Impact staff)

Since Jan. 11, Comal County has reported 533 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 7,327.

The county reported 34 new coronavirus-related deaths since Jan. 11, all of which occurred between Dec. 27 and Jan. 13. The reported deaths included those of 33 New Braunfels residents and one resident of Canyon Lake.

As of Jan. 19, the county has 743 active, confirmed cases.

As of Jan. 19, the molecular positivity rate was reported to be 27.19% and the antigen positivity rate was reported to be 9.36% as compared to 23.93% and 8.76%, respectively, as of Jan. 15.

Comal County hospitals reported caring for 87 COVID-19 patients, 25 of whom are in intensive care and 16 of whom are on ventilators, as of Jan. 19.

Comal County also reported Jan. 19 that 68 county residents were hospitalized with the coronavirus—though not all county residents are hospitalized within county hospitals—up from 58 residents who were hospitalized Jan. 15.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Trauma Service Area P was reported to be 22.93% of total hospital capacity Jan. 19, up from 21.08% as of Jan.15. The percentage has remained above 20% since Jan. 5.

According to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, which went into effect on Oct. 14, any business operating at 75% capacity in a TSA with seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds 15% of total hospital capacity must cut back to 50% capacity.

Bars that are not operating as restaurants must close entirely under the order, and the restrictions will remain in place until the TSA P is below 15% for seven consecutive days. Area hospitals must also postpone elective surgeries.

According to data from the Texas DSHS, Guadalupe County reported a total of 805 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases between Jan. 11-17, for a total of 9,123 confirmed and probable cases reported since March 16, 2020.

Of the reported cases, 958 are active as of Jan. 19, and a total of 126 Guadalupe County deaths have been reported by the Texas DSHS, though only 52 have been reported to the Guadalupe County Office of Emergency Management.

Comal ISD and New Braunfels ISD have been reporting symptomatic cases as well as incidents of exposure to a case since the beginning of the school year. Exposure to a COVID-19 case includes being directly exposed to fluids from the mouth or nose or being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more without a face covering.

On Jan. 15, NBISD reported 95 current cases, 96 symptomatic cases and 517 exposures to a lab-confirmed case, up from 343 as of Jan. 10. A total of 315 confirmed cases have been reported in NBISD: 218 students and 97 staff members.

CISD reported that there were 135 current cases, 117 symptomatic cases and 519 exposures to a lab-confirmed case as of Jan. 15, up from 503 exposures as of Jan. 10.

On Dec. 28, the Comal County Public Health Department began administering COVID-19 vaccines to front-line health care professionals. The department received 200 Moderna vaccines as part of the Tier 1A distribution plan.

The health authority announced Jan. 4 that it has administered its full allotment of vaccines after a week of scheduled vaccinations.

Information about vaccine allotments for the week of Jan. 18 was released by DSHS on Jan. 17. The Comal County Office of Public Health was allotted 500 doses, Christus Santa Rosa Hospital in New Braunfels was allotted 100 doses, and the city of Schertz Emergency Medical System was allotted 975 doses.

Residents can view a list of vaccine providers on the DSHS website, and those who wish to be tested can call the county’s hotline at 830-221-1120 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment. Testing is conducted on Tuesdays and Fridays.

On Jan. 11, two vaccination hubs in Bexar County also began administering vaccines to residents in Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution plan.

Residents can also utilize the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ online search tool to find a testing site.
By Lauren Canterberry

Reporter, New Braunfels

Lauren joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in October 2019. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, Lauren was a freelance journalist and worked as a college English teacher in China. At CI, Lauren covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in New Braunfels.